Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H LGA 1155 Ivy Bridge Motherboard Review

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Now that the Z77 chipset has become the consumer standard for Intel builds these days, motherboard manufacturers can start to iron out the issues in their first generation boards and perfect their technologies and apps in the new ones. We here at Tech Kings do our best to point out these successes and failures, so it's easy for the consumer to figure out what he or she needs. Priced at only $169.99, the Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H will certainly give its competitors a run for their money by offering a number of useful and effective features normally seen on more expensive motherboards.

Overview 

GIGABYTE 7 series motherboards combine a host of new and exciting technologies with the latest Intel Z77 Express Chipset, creating a unique range of motherboard designs that harness the outstanding performance of the new 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors. With an exclusive 'Digital' VRM design, GIGABYTE 3D Power and GIGABYTE 3D BIOS (Dual UEFI), GIGABYTE 7 series motherboards ensure exceptional power delivery and absolute control, with additional features that ensure an unrivalled experience on your next PC build.

 

GIGABYTE All Digital Power Engine

GIGABYTE Z77 series motherboards take advantage of an exclusive All Digital PWM controller array, to deliver power to the board's 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor. Using entirely digital controllers means that more precise power delivery to the motherboard's most power hungry and energy sensitive components is possible. These components include the CPU, VTT, processor graphics and memory, without doubt the most important components on your motherboard. This All Digital Power system, with Precise Auto Voltage Compensation, provides you with exceptional control over the component power delivery on your GIGABYTE 7 series motherboard. 

 

GIGABYTE 3D Power: Digital Voltage, Frequency, and Phase Control

Utilizing an exclusive All Digital controller array, GIGABYTE's 3D Power features precise Auto Voltage Compensation to deliver a steady flow of power to the system, no matter the loading. With digital controllers for the CPU (Vcore), VTT, processor graphics and memory (DDR), users can make real-time adjustments with the exclusive GIGABYTE 3D Power Utility, that include settings such as OVP (Over Voltage Protection), Load-line Calibration and on-the-fly PWM frequency adjustment.

 

GIGABYTE 3D Power (patent pending) Utility

Users can enjoy a fully interactive 3D utility that facilitates adjustment of the 3 dimensions that control the power delivery to your CPU and Memory: Voltage, Phase and Frequency. These parameters are crucial to how the digital PWM supplies power to critical areas of the motherboard and can help users quickly obtain the highest, most stable overclock.

 

3D Power: Voltage Control

Voltage parameters can be modified within 3D Power, including load line calibration of the CPU. By adjusting load line calibration, Vdroop can be avoided, maintaining optimal voltages levels despite increasing current levels. OVP (over voltage protection) can also be adjusted to change default protection range of the CPU, IGP, VTT and system memory.

 

3D Power: Phase Control

Users can calibrate OCP (Over Current Protection) for the CPU, integrated memory controller and system memory power levels. This allows the Phase control to deliver even more power to the system when needed.

 

3D Power: Frequency Control

GIGABYTE's all digital PWM allows for adjustable frequency control via the International Rectifier PWM controller. 3D Power frequency control allows users to change the PWM controller frequency so that the CPU VRM can adjust power delivery speeds more quickly. Users can also adjust the PWM spectrum or maximum and minimum overall frequencies.

 

GIGABYTE 3D BIOS (patent pending)

The revolutionary GIGABYTE 3D BIOS application is based on GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™ technology and is available to consumers in two exclusive modes of interaction, providing enthusiast and mainstream users with a choice of unique and powerful graphical interfaces.

 

UEFI DualBIOS™ Technology

At the heart of this exciting 3D BIOS technology is a pair of physical BIOS ROMs containing GIGABYTE's exclusive in-house designed UEFI BIOS technology. With a superior graphical interface capable of 32-bit color imaging and fluid user-friendly mouse navigation, UEFI DualBIOS™ makes BIOS configuration a new and exciting experience for novice and experienced users alike. UEFI BIOS also brings native support for large hard drives on 64-bit operating systems.

 

3D Mode

Designed to provide an extremely streamlined and user-friendly BIOS environment, GIGABYTE's exclusive 3D mode offers a fully interactive and illustrative GUI that allows users to easily and intuitively make key adjustments to the UEFI BIOS settings for optimum performance. 3D Mode allows novice or casual users to more clearly understand the areas of the motherboard that are being affected through the BIOS settings, gaining a clearer understanding of the BIOS functionality.

 

Advanced Mode

Designed to provide an extremely streamlined and user-friendly BIOS environment, GIGABYTE's exclusive 3D mode offers a fully interactive and illustrative GUI that allows users to easily and intuitively make key adjustments to the UEFI BIOS settings for optimum performance. 3D Mode allows novice or casual users to more clearly understand the areas of the motherboard that are being affected through the BIOS settings, gaining a clearer understanding of the BIOS functionality.

 

Onboard OC Features

GIGABYTE Z77 motherboards add special onboard features that assist DIY builders and overclockers in getting the absolute maximum control from their new 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors. Onboard Power and Reset buttons are accompanied by a LED Debug Display that puts users in the driving seat when experimenting with different hardware configurations.Overclockers will appreciate having Onboard Voltage Read Points, which have been added to allow for accurate real-time voltage reading when pushing your processor and memory to absolute extremes. OC-PEG provides two onboard SATA power connectors for more stable PCIe power when using 3-way and 4-way graphics configurations. An exclusive Onboard BIOS Switcher is also included which allows users to easily switch between the motherboard's Dual UEFI BIOS ROMs. This makes it easier to switch between overclocking and regular BIOS settings and also to try a new BIOS revision without losing your original settings. Onboard Clear CMOS buttons makes it easier than ever to reset your BIOS to its factory defaults.

 

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 4 – Insist on an Ultra Durable Motherboard

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 4 motherboards embrace a range of exclusive technologies that guarantee DIY PC builders the absolute best protection for their PC, with built-in features that prevent common malfunction threats

 

Lucid Universal MVP Support 

GIGABYTE 7 series motherboards support Lucid Virtu GPU virtualization technologies - optimized virtualization software that improves your PC's visuals, with faster response times, improved video processing and smoother media playback, all within a low power environment. Lucid Universal MVP also features Hyperformance, which eliminates redundant rendering tasks and predicts potential synchronization issues in the graphics delivery pipeline, producing faster frame rates, sharper visuals and reduced tearing.

 

GIGABYTE EZ Smart Response

The GIGABYTE EZ Smart Response utility is a simple application that allows users to quickly and easily configure their system for Intel® Smart Response Technology. In the past, enabling Intel® Smart Response meant users needed to enter the BIOS in order to configure their system for RAID mode, which then required a complete reinstall of the operating system. Once that processes was complete, users then needed to install the Intel® Rapid Storage Utility as well as configure Intel's Smart Response Technology. GIGABYTE EZ Smart Response does all of this automatically, without users having to perform a complicated install process. This allows them to quickly and effortlessly enjoy a significant boost in system performance.

 

GIGABYTE EZ Setup

GIGABYTE EZ Setup is an exclusive application that allows GIGABYTE 7 series users to more easily configure and setup three important Intel Technologies on their new system; Intel® Smart Response, Intel® Rapid Start and Intel® Smart Connect. GIGABYTE EZ Setup makes it far easier to enjoy these technologies by greatly reducing the number of steps involved to install setup and configure your system. 

 

Onboard mSATA Support

 

GIGABYTE 7 series motherboards feature an onboard mSATA slot allowing users to easily take advantage of advanced SSD-based technologies like Intel® Smart Response and Intel® Rapid Start. Mounting an affordable, low capacity mSATA SSD directly onto your motherboard can enhance your PC's performance with better overall desktop responsiveness, faster boot times and faster system resume from 'Suspend to Disk' and 'Standby' modes.

 

GIGABYTE 333 Onboard Acceleration

GIGABYTE 7 series motherboards feature GIGABYTE 333 Onboard Acceleration , a range of the latest technologies that are designed help speed up data transfer, including SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology, SATA Revision 3.0 (6Gbps) technology and an unprecedented 3x USB power boost on all USB ports for more power hungry USB devices.

 

GIGABYTE On/Off Charge

GIGABYTE 7 series motherboards feature ON/OFF Charge, a unique GIGAYTE technology which allows you not only to charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, but also allows you to Quick Charge it. As an added bonus, it can even be charged when your PC is turned off, so even if you forget to plug it into your charger after you've synced up your music, it will be fully charged when you need it.

 

Specifications

 

CPU
  1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/ Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1155 package
  2. L3 cache varies with CPU
(Some Intel® Core™ processors require a graphic card, please refer "CPU support List" for more information.)
Chipset
  1. Intel® Z77 Express Chipset
Memory
  1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
    * Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.
  2. Dual channel memory architecture
  3. Support for DDR3 2666(OC)/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
  4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
  5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)
Onboard Graphics
Integrated Graphics Processor:
  1. 1 x D-Sub port
  2. 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
    * The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connection by adapter.
  3. 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920x1200
  4. 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 2560x1600
Audio
  1. VIA VT2021 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN
  1. Atheros GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots
    1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
      * For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
    1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
      (The PCIEX16 and PCIEX8 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
      * The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
      * PCIE Gen.3 is dependent on CPU and expansion card compatibility.
    1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
      * The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with all PCI Express x1 slots. All PCI Express x1 slots will become unavailable when a PCIe x4 expansion card is installed.
    1. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
      (The PCIEX4 and PCI Express x1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
  1. 1 x PCI slot
Multi-Graphics Technology
  1. Support for 2-Way AMD CrossFireX™/NVIDIA SLI technology (PCIEX16 and PCIEX8)
Storage Interface
Chipset:
  1. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0/SATA3 1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2 2~5) supporting up to 4 SATA 3Gb/s devices
  3. 1 x mSATA connector
    * The SATA2 5 connector will become unavailable when the mSATA connector is installed with a solid state drive.
  4. Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
    * When a RAID set is built across the SATA 6Gb/s and SATA 3Gb/s channels, the system performance of the RAID set may vary depending on the devices being connected.
Marvell 88SE9172 chip:
  1. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors on the back panel supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
  2. Support for RAID 0 and RAID 1
USB
Chipset:
  1. Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
    * In Windows XP, the Intel USB 3.0 ports can support up to USB 2.0 transfer speed.
  2. Up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (available through the internal USB headers)
VIA VL800 chip:
  1. Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
    * Due to a Windows 7 limitation, please connect your USB device(s) to the Intel controlled USB port(s) (located below the RJ-45 LAN port) before the VIA USB 3.0 controller driver is installed.
Internal I/O Connectors
  1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  2. 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  3. 1 x PCIe power connector
  4. 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  5. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
  6. 1 x mSATA connector
  7. 1 x CPU fan header
  8. 4 x fan headers
  9. 1 x front panel header
  10. 1 x front panel audio header
  11. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
  12. 3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  13. 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
  14. 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  15. 1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
  16. 1 x power button
  17. 1 x reset button
  18. 1 x Clear CMOS button
  19. 1 x Voltage Measurement Points
  20. 1 x BIOS Switch
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  2. 1 x D-Sub port
  3. 1 x DVI-D port
  4. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  5. 1 x HDMI port
  6. 1 x DisplayPort
  7. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors
  8. 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  9. 1 x RJ-45 port
  10. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Side Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out)
I/O Controller
  1. iTE I/O Controller Chip
H/W Monitoring
  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/System temperature detection
  3. CPU/System fan speed detection
  4. CPU overheating warning
  5. CPU/System fan fail warning
  6. CPU/System fan speed control
    * Whether the CPU/system fan speed control function is supported will depend on the CPU/system cooler you install.
BIOS
  1. 2 x 64 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AMI EFI BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.6, ACPI 2.0a
Unique Features
  1. Support for @BIOS
  2. Support for Q-Flash
  3. Support for Xpress Install
  4. Support for Xpress Recovery2
  5. Support for EasyTune
    * Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.
  6. Support for eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D)
  7. Support for Auto Green
  8. Support for ON/OFF Charge
  9. Support for Q-Share
  10. Support for 3D Power
  11. Support for LAN Optimizer (Intelligent optimization network management tool)
Bundle Software
  1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
  2. Intel® Rapid Start Technology
  3. Intel® Smart Connect Technology
  4. Intel® Smart Response Technology
  5. LucidLogix Virtu MVP
    * Make sure the monitor cable has been connected to the integrated graphics port on the back panel.
Operating System
  1. Support for Microsoft® Windows 7/XP
Form Factor
  1. ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm
Remark
  1. Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website.
  2. Most hardware/software vendors may no longer offer drivers to support Win9X/ME/2000/XP SP1/SP2. If drivers are available from the vendors, we will update them on the GIGABYTE website.

*Specifications and product features courtesy of Gigabyte

Packaging

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Gigabyte supplies the usual items in the box: the manual / warranty info, a couple SATA cables, SLI connector, and an I/O shield. We'd have liked to see a few other little accessories we've come to expect, like case header adapters which save headaches during your build.  The shield is padded, which makes installation much easier and gives a better-looking end result. 

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